AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NSW STATE GOVERNMENT FROM LIVE MUSIC VENUES ACROSS NSW.

Live music in NSW is under threat. Unless there is immediate government intervention, we risk losing 85% of the state’s live music venues within the next 12 months.

With the biggest music industry in the country, NSW is home to some of Australia’s greatest artists and performers, biggest crowds and world-class stages. Our music creates a sense of pride, gives us a voice, introduces us to new ideas, new friends, new hope. Live music is our lifeblood and our lifeline in times of crisis.

But now live music in NSW is on the verge of collapse. From a survey of just 47 music venues, over $70M in earnings has been lost in just six months, and they are accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt as restrictions continue to limit their business viability. After six years of lockout laws, devastating bushfires and now the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19, the venues that have survived through hard work and ingenuity can no longer do it alone.

This is not just about live music – venues build community, boost the economy, improve wellbeing, and drive tourism. And importantly, they provide artists with places to share their music with fans and find new audiences.

Live performance is essential to an artist’s career development and makes up around 70% of their music income. Without stages to play on, artistic careers in NSW will become almost impossible to maintain, and an industry which employs 23,000 people and contributes $3.6B to NSW’s economy will crumble.

The Queensland and Victorian Governments have already committed millions of dollars in support to their venues, but the NSW government has yet to act.

We call on the NSW Government to work with MusicNSW and industry representatives to devise a stimulus package that will ensure the ongoing survival of our venues. A package that will support the artists and communities who depend on live music for their existence. A package which will safeguard the future of our industry. A package that will Save Our Stages.